Tag Archives: beef jerky

Easy Homemade Jalapeno & Lime Beef Jerky

3 Feb

Neil and I are very proud of our Moogarita, the cocktail we created using Canadian Beef for Kitchen Play’s February Progressive Menu. We love that it’s gotten people talking about the use of beef and beef stock in different ways.

But in our last post, with the focus on the drink itself, a key component may have been overshadowed: the jalapeno & lime beef jerky.

We created the homemade jerky as a garnish for the Moogarita but quickly realized that this recipe should not be treated as an after-thought. This jerky is worth making and not just to be used as a garnish.

It’s delicious. It’s full of lean protein. It’s packed with a ton of flavor. And it’s an awesome snack.

I never considered making beef jerky at home. I’ve barely ever touched the packaged stuff. It was always a hot item on the craft table of many television sets I’ve worked on and I never understood why. (Hungry crew like meat in any form, I guess!) But the packaged version doesn’t even compare to a homemade one. It’s a different ball game altogether.

To create our recipe for jalapeno & lime beef jerky, we recipe-tested a few times to get the ingredients and technique just right. That meant eating quite a bit of homemade beef jerky and I think I got addicted in the process.

This jerky is packed with such a punch of flavor! You can really taste the jalapeno, not just the spice and heat, but the flavor of the pepper itself. You can even smell it as the jerky is drying in the oven. It kind of taunts you as you patiently wait for it to be done…

The first batch we made used more lime juice and less brown sugar and we found it too be a little too tart. We also cooked the first batch on a higher heat at 200 degrees and realized it probably needed to cook slower on a lower heat.

We had a lot of fun testing and coming up with the final recipe and I really encourage people to try making beef jerky at home whether you use this homemade version or another. Making it yourself ensures you know just what’s going into it. You can control the salt and sugar and feel good about eating a snack that’s preservative-free.

So in an effort to give this little recipe a shot at the limelight (bad pun but I’m going with it), I thought I’d post it again with a little bit more detail on how it came together.

Jalapeno & Lime Beef Jerky

3/4 lb flank steak

1 jalapeno, half of seeds discarded, chopped

1/3 C fresh lime juice

1/2 C tequila

1/4 C tamari soy sauce (or regular soy)

4 Tbs brown sugar

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

Slice beef against the grain, into long, thin strips. The butcher we got the beef from actually gave us this handy tip: put your meat in the freezer about an hour before cutting it. It’ll be easier to slice.

In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, tequila, tamari soy, brown sugar, salt and pepper until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the jalapeno with the seeds.

Place beef strips in a glass baking dish (or other non-reactive receptacle) and pour marinade overtop.

Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

We marinated ours overnight and by morning the beef was very dark and almost looked somewhat cooked.

Preheat oven to 175 C. Remove marinated beef from the fridge, and place slices on paper towel. Remove any jalapeno seeds stuck to the beef if you want a milder beef jerky or keep them in for some nice heat. Using more paper towel, pat the pieces of beef to remove excess liquid.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Arrange beef slices flat on sheet without overlapping.

For our Moogarita garnish we wanted the jerky to have a nice polished, stylish look so we twisted each piece as we placed them on the baking sheet. But you can leave them flat for a more traditional look.

Sprinkle with sea salt and place in oven.

Lay the pieces flat or twist for a different look

After 1.5 hours, remove the baking sheet and flip each piece of jerky over. Put back in the oven for another hour.

After another hour, check to see how dry the beef is, flip slices again, and put back in the oven for an additional 15-30 minutes, if needed. The goal is for the jerky to be as firm and dry as possible, without getting too brittle.

When sufficiently dried, remove jerky from oven and let cool. The beef will dry further as it cools so make sure not to overcook/over-dry in the oven.

If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, you can store them in an air-tight container or sandwich bag in the fridge for a few days.

The Moogarita: A Beef Cocktail

1 Feb

Beef cocktail

Jenny and I love cooking shows based around secret ingredients, like Iron Chef and Chopped. So I was intrigued when I discovered Kitchen Play—a website built around that very concept—earlier this year.

The site invites food bloggers from across North America to participate in monthly “progressive menus.” Bloggers are assigned to develop a recipe for a particular course, using ingredients from a sponsor organization. We were excited and up for a challenge when Casey at Kitchen Play contacted us to be part of the February menu. But we never could have expected just how challenging this particular challenge would be.

Our course: a cocktail. Our secret ingredient: Beef, courtesy of sponsor Canadian Beef. Translation: Make a beef drink.

Our research quickly uncovered the fact that there aren’t too many alcoholic concoctions containing beef, aside from variations of the Canadian classic, the Ceasar, which incorporate beef stock. Then Jenny had a revelation—tamarind, the sour-sweet fruit common to Mexican, Thai and Indian cooking. We’d had a tamarind tequila in Mexico a couple years ago, and knew the flavour would complement the rich, earthy taste of beef.

And so, after a bit more thinking, testing and drinking, the Moogarita was born: a combination of tequila, pure beef stock, tamarind, and lime-ginger syrup. And to beef it up even more, we garnished the drink with sticks of homemade jalapeno and lime beef jerky.

To make the Moogarita, we set out to find the purest beef stock and found some at a local market made from Canadian beef bones and water. That’s all there is to it—no added salt or flavourings, which makes for a very pure and clean tasting stock that doesn’t overshadow the other flavours in what turned out to be a delicious drink. With its tart citrus taste, the Moogarita is similar to a classic margarita, but with a richness from the beef stock and a sweet-sour bite from the tamarind and ginger-lime syrup.

If you can’t find tamarind paste or concentrate (widely available in Asian and Indian food stores, as well as in ethnic food sections of many grocery stores), we’ve discovered that HP sauce—which actually contains some tamarind—is a reasonable substitute.

Check out our recipes for both the Moogarita and the beef jerky garnish below—and read on to find out how you can win $100 from Kitchen Play by recreating this recipe or others from the February menu!

The Moogarita (makes 1 drink):

1 oz tequila
1 oz good quality beef stock (unsalted and as pure as possible)
½ oz ginger-lime simple syrup (see recipe below)
½ oz thinned tamarind paste*
Ice cubes

To thin tamarind paste, put about a tablespoon of it into a bowl and whisk in about a tablespoon of warm water, a little bit at a time until you get a smooth, thin, syrupy consistency. Set aside.

Put 3 or 4 ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Add tequila, beef stock, ginger-lime simple syrup and tamarind. Shake well. Pour into a highball or margarita glass and garnish with jalapeno-lime beef jerky and a slice of fresh lime.

*Tamarind paste can be found at many specialty stores and ethnic grocery stores. If you can’t find it, you can substitute ½ oz of HP Sauce, which is similar in flavor with a bit more spice and bite to it.

Ginger-Lime Simple Syrup:

½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger

Bring lime juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Add sugar and ginger, and lower heat. Simmer and stir for 5 minutes, or until sugar dissolves and ginger infuses syrup. Let cool.

You can strain the syrup to remove pieces of ginger, but we decided to keep them in to add more flavour to the drink.

Makes about 2/3 cup of syrup. Syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about two weeks.

Jalapeno & Lime Beef Jerky

3/4 lb flank steak
1 jalapeno, half of seeds discarded, chopped
1/3 C fresh lime juice
1/2 C tequila
¼ C tamari soy sauce (or regular soy)
4 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper

Slice beef against the grain, into long, thin strips. (Tip: put your meat in the freezer about an hour before cutting it. It’ll be easier to slice.)

In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, tequila, tamari soy, brown sugar, salt and pepper until the sugar dissolves. Stir in jalapeno.

Place beef strips in a glass baking dish (or other non-reactive receptacle) and pour marinade overtop. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours (overnight is best).

Preheat oven to 175 C. Remove marinated beef from the fridge, and place slices on paper towel. Remove any jalapeno seeds stuck to the beef if you want a milder beef jerky. Using more paper towel, pat the pieces dry to remove excess liquid.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Arrange beef slices flat on sheet without overlapping. For a more stylish-looking jerky, twist the slices of beef before placing them on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and place in oven.

After 1.5 hours, remove the baking sheet and flip each piece of meat over. Put back in the oven for another hour.

After another hour, check to see how dry the beef is, flip slices again, and put back in the oven for an additional half an hour if needed. The goal is for the jerky to be as firm and dry as possible, without getting too brittle.

When sufficiently dried, remove jerky from oven and let cool. The beef will dry further as it cools so make sure not to overcook/over-dry in the oven.

Enjoy as a garnish for the Moogarita—or on its own!

* Special thanks to our friends Sue & Chris Pink for the beautiful photography.

Up for a challenge of your own? Want the chance to win $100? Recreate this or any of the other recipes from February’s Kitchen Play menu, then post about it. Read the full contest rules at kitchen-play.com/contest-rules.

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